By S. S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal yesterday summoned Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya directing him to be present in Court on 22 May for Contempt of Court.
The bench comprising Justices Vijith K. Malalgoda (President/CA) and S. Thurairaja issued an interim order restraining and/or preventing him from committing, making and/or publishing further contemptuous statements/articles scandalising the Court of Appeal until the conclusion of the case.
Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMS) Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya and Co-convener of the Puravesi Balaya (Citizens’ Power) Gamini Viyangoda filed the contempt application against Dr. Padeniya.
Upul Jayasuriya with Chandimal Rajapakse and Lakna Seniviratne instructed by Chitrananda Liyanage appeared for the petitioners.
The petitioners stated that the Court of Appeal delivered the judgment on 31 January 2017 inter alia issuing a Writ of Mandamus compelling the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register the MBBS graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) provisionally as medical practitioners and also issued a Writ of Prohibition preventing it from refusing to register the MBBS graduates of SAITM.
The GMOA, they said, has condemned and/or openly criticised the said judgment demanding to annul it and/or set it aside.
The petitioners further stated that the GMOA had called for a national front and trade union action against SAITM following the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
The GMOA on 7 April 2017 had organised a protest march and delivered a speech in which the respondent delivered a speech and made deliberate, malicious and contemptuous statements in relation to the court process, judgment and the conduct of the judges as well as the Attorney General, they added.
According to the petitioners, in an interview, GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Soysa said the President should exercise his executive powers to quash the Appeal Court ruling. The petitioners also alleged that the conduct of the respondent obstructs the due administration of justice coercing other authorities to apply pressure on the court.
The petitioners are seeking the court to deal with the respondent and punish him for committing the offense of contempt of court.
Padeniya’s craving for private practice on strike day
The president of the striking government doctors’ trade union, Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya has granted appointments to see patients at a leading private hospital on Friday when his union was engaged in an island wide strike demanding the closure of private medical college.
Deputy Minister of Social Empowering and Welfare Ranjan Ramanayake on Thursday (May 04) has made an appointment to see Dr. Padeniya, a pediatric neurologist, at the Nawaloka Hospital in Colombo. The appointment was given to see Dr. Padeniya on Friday, May 05 at 4:05 pm and the deputy minister was listed as the 6th patient.
The minister, who obtained the appointment to demonstrate the duplicity of the GMOA, produced the receipt issued for his appointment in parliament. It lists doctor Padeniya’s charge as Rs. 1000.
The GMOA staged a token strike again on Friday inconveniencing and risking the lives of thousands of poor patients who seek free health care at state hospitals.
The union demands the government to close the South Asian Institute of Medicine and Technology (SAITM), also known as private medical college in Malabe. The GMOA has threatened to launch an indefinite strike if the government did not meet their demand.
The doctors’ trade union action subjecting the poor segment of the country to suffering has drawn severe criticism and resentment from the general public at a time the government has pledged to take action to resolve the SAITM issue.